Monday, October 11, 2010
Salt and Light in Tennessee
My last Salt and Light posting was written while I was flying over the Alps, returning from Kenya, where I had been helping to plan the 2012 World Conference of Friends. Since only 1,000 people will be able to go to Kenya, it’s important to bring some of the spirit to local meetings and churches.
The first of these local events took place last weekend in the shade of deciduous trees in Tennessee, in a meetinghouse lined from ceiling to floor by windows. When the windows were open we could hear birds and the noise of huge acorns falling; we were truly in those woods.
Participants, hosted by West Knoxville Friends, came from eight yearly meetings: six in the USA and also from Ireland and Jamaica. Felicity McCartney, Ireland YM, and Sheila Hoyer, North Carolina YM (FUM), spoke of doing peace and reconciliation work in Northern Ireland and encouraged participants to consider ways to address conflict in their own lives and in the experience of their communities.
As with all FWCC events, we combined the worship styles of different traditions, singing hymns and having vocal prayer as well as waiting worship. We heard reports from all the yearly meetings, and were particularly interested to hear that Jamaica YM had used the text of being Salt and Light as the theme for its recent annual sessions. I am hoping that Jamaican Friends will host a local event next year.
Most of us were able to stay to be able to worship with West Knoxville Friends and we shared some of flavor of the weekend with them over potluck lunch. With thanks to all those Tennessee Friends who volunteered time and a host of skills to launch this program (we are looking forward to sixteen local events in just six weeks) I am now moving through the changing tree colors to our next stop: Harrisonburg, Virginia.